Blue-chip stocks took a beating Wednesday while the techs continued their steady ascent as the Nasdaq composite picked up 22 points to close at 4,103.82. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 112 points to finish at 11,103.01.
In economic news, the Conference Board said its monthly index of leading economic indicators declined 0.1 percent to 105.8 last month, slightly below the unchanged rate expected by economists.
"The earnings outlook...is where the real risk lies," said Thomas McManus, equity market strategist for Banc of America Securities. "We still need to consider that there is a pattern of disappointments which is starting to envelop the market."
Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN) got a nice bounce after analysts sent out positive notes on the company's newly announced French site. The stock closed up $3.31 a share to $42.94.
Amazon.com helped boost the rest of the Internet sector as America Online (AOL) and Yahoo! (YHOO) moved up $1 and $2.25 a share, respectively. Lycos (LCOS) picked up $2.13 a share to $70.13 while eBay (EBAY) shaved off 6 cents to end at $61.06.
Struggling online health site Drkoop.com (Nasdaq: KOOP) nudged up 16 cents to $1.34 after it has cut its workforce by a third as part of a restructuring.
Intel (INTC) shaved off 56 cents to $73.50 while Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and IBM (IBM) shed 13 cents and $2.69 a share, respectively.
Microsoft (MSFT) lost 94 cents to $70. Oracle (ORCL) added 50 cents to $88.25 and Sun Microsystems (SUNW) finished unchanged at $127.13.
Shares of Neoware Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: NWRE)jumped $1.06 to $3 after the company reported a hefty jump in revenues.
GTSI Corp (Nasdaq: GTSI) rose $1.69 to $5.06 following reports the little-known company has been awarded U.S. defense contract for worldwide military government and communications work.
Among widely held PC stocks, Dell (DELL) trimmed 63 cents to $39.94; Apple Computer (AAPL) added 31 cents to $59.50; Gateway (GTW) tacked on 15 cents to $65.85 and Compaq Computer (CPQ) lost 63 cents to close at $33.25.